Tuesday of the Eighth Week in Ordinary Time
(I Peter 1:10-16; Mark 10:28-31)
Mardi Gras, of course, means Fat Tuesday. In Europe and South America the day and period leading up to it is often called carnival, which comes from Latin words meaning plenty of meat. Both expressions have the same implication: Christians gorge themselves on rich food as they contemplate the forty-day fast that lies ahead. Of course, what may have once been an innocent way to see that no good food is wasted has turned into – at least, in some cases – an orgy. One might ask if hardcore participants in today’s festivities will also really partake of the long penance to come.
The first reading today views Mardi Gras revelry with a gaunt eye. It warns readers to “live soberly” so that they do not shun the grace that Jesus merited. It further recommends that Christians strive for holiness – a quality of God that diverges from worldly decadence.
Our excitement today should not be limited to having a full meal at six and perhaps a nightcap before midnight. We should also be thinking of how we will show our love for the Lord in the weeks ahead. He has given us life and sustained it in myriad ways. We might fast from sweets or perhaps pray regularly in front of an abortion clinic as a token of our appreciation.